Let's make a deal

The government has accepted former conflict of interest commissioner Ted Hughes offer to mediate a dispute between the children and youth representative and the ministry of children and family development. Mr. Hughes - who recommended the creation of the representative's office in 2006 - made that offer in a letter sent to Gordon Campbell yesterday. In the letter, he asked the premier to withdraw legislation would strip the representative of her unrestricted legal right to cabinet documents - or, at the very least, wait until the next sitting of the legislature to pass it. By delaying the amendment, the former conflict of interest commissioner expressed hope the differences between the government and the representative's office could be resolved through mediation. But the government has given Mr. Hughes a tighter timeline - a little over two weeks - to do that work. The following is a complete copy of Mr. Seckel's letter. And you can see for yourself how Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak handled questions about this latest development.


Yep Polak just knew all along that legislation wasn't needed. Sure Ms Polak you can slip and slide all you want but Mary Ellen and Ted Hughes wiped the floor with your sleezy ,so called managing of this so unnecessary event. To try to bring in Legislation backdated for three years, then tell us the bit about how things can be worked out. Ted was right when he said. The kids come first

Well, well once against Mary Polak works her way outta furball.

Just like in Surrey when the nuts on both sides demanded their way or damnation, Mary Polak figures out "how to make a deal". What you expect?


Hope the judge can help work things our for the kiddies out there. Interestin he mentions the relationship will be dealt with seperately. Everybody still onthe payroll?

What a class act! The Minister is topping everything off by trying to re-write history to blame the victim.

She's now insinuating that the proposed amendment was prompted by the Representative's unwillingness to respect Cabinet confidentiality and that she (Polak) is therefore now counting on Hughes to negotiate a way to balance the Representative's right to access documents with some new mechanism to protect Cabinet confidentiality.

But both the court and Hughes pointed out last week that the existing (2006) legislation already provides the balance required: "While (the Representative) has the right to obtain information under s.10 of the RCYA, the RCYA also imposes confidentiality obligations" under s. 23.

And Turpel Lafond never challenged those confidentiality obligations. She only refused Cabinet's demand that she go even further than required under the Act to protect Cabinet secrecy.

The original RCYA says the appropriate balance requires that Rep's right to information should trump Cabinet secrecy, because protecting children is more important than covering Cabinet's collective derriere (because this is what's being protected - we're not talking matters of provincial security or giving away the secret code that opens the Treasury vault - we're talking about the Minister or her colleagues potentially facing embarrassment if they're held publicly accountable for failures under the child protection mandate). And both Hughes and the court indicated their agreement last week that the "balance" provided by the current RCYA was the appropriate one.

The Minister and her colleagues sought to defy the original RCYA, and when that failed, to amend it, because they clearly place more value on their own tender tushies than on the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable kids.

Now that they've been roundly embarrassed anyway and thwarted by the court, by public opinion and by Hughes' own bold intervention, the Minister is trying to save face by insinuating that this was always about trying to find a way around the Representative's intransigence - when the intransigent party all along was Cabinet and their unwillingness to do what everyone else agrees is the right thing to do: i.e. to put the safety and welfare of BC's children first.

The public will find this whole affair deeply disturbing on many levels - although those who have been dealing with this Ministry in the last decade will find the patterns of behaviour all too disgustingly familiar.


Who is this nutty person? What does SH supposed to mean?
"Stay home"?

Interesting. The Minister looks to be in dreadful pain. She wants softball lobs not legitimate questions. Nasty reporters.

Seckel says improving relations between the Ministry and the Representative is of interest but not right now. Maybe later, if the Representative caves to their demands.

Well said Dawn!
This whole affair is painfully obvious to any who look with logic and without bias.
Hey Josef, check out Dawns detail and logic versus your short and unconvincing post.
You can bray all you want and pi** into the wind, the fact is Her Maryest fell flat on her face and is wearing it big time!
She can attempt to re write the tale all she wants, the facts, the Court Judgement, the statements of Hughes and her pitiful performance in question period speak for themselves, no matter how she and those like yourself attempt to keep wearing blinders!
I could keep indulging in schadenfreuden (SP?), but the real tragedy and point is how kids in need continue to be shunted aside by this Govt and this Minister!

The individual who ought to be fired and without any further delay, is the Deputy Minister of MCFD - the HAND PICKED (by the Premier) Deputy Mininster. What WAS he thinking? Our children deserve MUCH better. Thank goodness for Turpel Lafond whose brilliance shines through all this shameful behaviour on the part of the DM, the Premier and the Minister. This recent embarrassment and all the others she has created would have been avoided had the Minister and the Premier not listened to the DM but rather, had shown her the door.

I watched the vid before I read the story. Afterwards I wondered what the heck just happened as I thought I understood the situation to be the opposite of what I'd just heard.

It's weaselly slippery slimy answers such as those presented in this vid and the constant repetition of the 'message' they want to get across that sours the public on politicians and gov bureaucrats.

Truly appalling.

Why can't this ministry EVER do anything right?

And ditto everything Dawn said!

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